An entertaining 53 runs off 24 balls by Kieron Pollard was not enough to get the West End Redbacks over the line in tonight’s match against the RTA Speedblitz Blues at Adelaide Oval.
In front of a crowd of nearly 18,000, Pollard was a wrecking machine as his score included a flurry of fours and huge sixes into the grandstands.
Despite his efforts, the West End Redbacks fell just 21 runs short in their first game of this year’s KFC Twenty20 Big Bash season.
Three wickets from Blues trio Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz and man of the match Stephen O’Keefe proved to be pivotal for the visitors. Blues captain, Clark won the toss and elected to bat with the Redbacks handing the opening bowling duties to Kieron Pollard and debutant Nathan Lyon.
The visitors were scoring at 10 runs an over with David Warner and Daniel Smith finding gaps in the field. However Lyon’s reintroduction into the attack brought immediate results, dismissing Smith for 45 with a catch off his own bowling, and then bowling Blues youngster Nic Maddinson the next ball.
The Redbacks began to build pressure in the field with Lyon and Aaron O’Brien keeping the Blues at bay and it paid off with Moises Henriques out for seven, when O’Brien picked up his first wicket.
Warner continued to look dangerous but lost his fourth partner when Peter Nevill hit a cover drive straight to Aaron O’Brien to be dismissed for 13. Warner remained unbeaten on 71 as the Blues finished at 5/168 with rookie Lyon the leading Redback wicket taker with 2/30 from his four overs.
The Redbacks got off to a blistering start with 17 runs coming off the second over as captain Michael Klinger and Daniel Harris looked to erase as much of the deficit as possible before the end of the powerplay.
The departure of Manou brought Kieron Pollard to the crease, and with Aaron O’Brien, looked to regain the momentum for the Redbacks, putting on a 49-run partnership.
The West Indian had the crowd on his feet as he raced to his half century from just 22 balls.
Bowler Moises Henriques felt the full force of Pollard as 29 runs came off his first over, with three towering sixes coming off the nine-ball over.
The next over, Pollard fell after trying to clear the boundary one too many times as he departed 53. Post-match, Klinger praised the efforts of Pollard, saying he almost won the game for the Redbacks.
“He has had some good performances in club cricket and for the Australian Capital Territory and had a pretty tough ask with the new ball when the guys were coming after him and I thought he handled himself pretty well.”
The Redbacks next KFC Twenty20 Big Bash match is against the DEC Victorian Bushrangers at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.